American Elephants

Pretending Compassion With Other People’s Lives, and Other People’s Money. by The Elephant's Child

The Imperial President strikes again. This time Obama is gutting welfare reform. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today released an official policy directive rewriting the welfare reform law of 1996, The new policy guts the federal work requirements that were the foundation of the reform law. The Obama directive directly attacks the letter and intent of the actual reform legislation.

Back during the Clinton administration, there was a great deal of concern about welfare mothers who were establishing a pattern of generations of women on welfare giving birth to daughters who had babies early , out-of-wedlock, perpetuating the problem, through one generation after another.

Welfare reform replaced the old Aid to Families with Dependent Children, with a new program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The basic idea was that able-bodied adults should be required to work or prepare for work as a condition of receiving welfare aid.

The welfare reform was very successful. In the four prior decades, the welfare caseload had never experienced a significant decline, but after the law was passed, the caseload dropped by nearly half. Employment surged and child poverty among the affected groups plummeted. The driving force was federal work requirements.

Women were helped to find beginning jobs, supported while they got on their own feet, and many participants were thrilled to become successful.  Dependency can be debilitating, with all sorts of negative feelings of hopelessness. Earning a living on your own, supporting a family and working to improve — works!

Liberals have, over time, elevated compassion to a political principle, but there isn’t enough of other people’s money to support the numbers to whom the Liberals want to distribute their compassion. So the free housing turns out to be slums, the welfare payments aren’t enough to live comfortably and raise decent children, only to produce communities of despair.

This is a long-time pattern. Liberals want to portray themselves as compassionate, and to contrast themselves with Conservatives who are mean because they want people to work. Conservatives respond that people prefer to be free and self-supporting, and should be helped to become so. Never ends.

Obama’s new trick is a directive that states that TANF requirements can be waived or overridden. But in establishing TANF, Congress deliberately exempted or shielded nearly all of the TANF program from waiver authority. They did not want HHS bureaucrats rewriting the law on a whim. The only option concerns state reporting requirements. The Congressional Research Service has said there are no TANF waivers.

State bureaucrats have attempted to define activities such as attending Weight Watchers, hula dancing, and bed rest as “work.” But these dodges were blocked by the federal work standards. Now that the Obama Administration has abolished those work standards, anything can be called “work.” This new dictate clearly guts the law. The Administration denies the actual legislation passed by Congress and seeks to impose its own policy choices. This has become a common pattern in this administration.

Richard Epstein said back in 2009, that Barack Obama had no respect for the separation of powers in the Constitution. Congress needs to remind him that, like it or not, he took an oath to uphold the law, and is required to do so.

It’s Not The Policies, It’s The Stories About the Policies? by The Elephant's Child

From Michael Warren at The Weekly Standard:

CBS News Charlie Rose has an interview airing tomorrow, with Barack and Michelle Obama, and in an advance excerpt, the president says that his biggest mistake was focusing too much on policy and not enough on the “story” of his presidency.

“When I think about what we’ve done well and what we haven’t done well,” the president said, “the mistake of my first term – couple of years – was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right. And that’s important. But the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times.”

Mr. Obama acknowledged the dissonance between others’ perception of his strength as an expert orator, and his own.

“It’s funny – when I ran, everybody said, well he can give a good speech but can he actually manage the job?” he said. “And in my first two years, I think the notion was, ‘Well, he’s been juggling and managing a lot of stuff, but where’s the story that tells us where he’s going?’ And I think that was a legitimate criticism.”

Charlie Rose pressed Obama about what he needed to explain better, the president said he wanted to do more”explaining, but also inspiring”.

The president has always thought, he said, that he “had a gift.” Most thought he referred to his speech-making ability. His initial campaign was filled with soaring phrases of the hope and change variety that listeners invested with far more —content or meaning— than was actually there. Rock bands were hired for the large events to bring people out, pliant members of the audience fainted at appropriate moments, and events were scripted to seem to have more weight and importance than they did, but still—

In his first big speech before the Democratic Convention, Obama told his own story with all the drama with which he has infused that story, and it was hugely successful. He has a wonderful mellow baritone voice, and a dazzling smile, but as far as content, there is much less there than advertised. I don’t see how inspiring phrases can cover up the disaster of Obama’s policies.

I’m not sure that he even knows what dire straits the economy is in, and I’m quite sure he does not recognize that it is his own policy choices that have put us there. I think blaming Bush is quite genuine on his part. He believes that he has done all the right things and stubborn problems—caused by George W. Bush — keep the economy from healing. I think he sincerely detests Republicans, assumes that we are all the mean, greedy you know the litany things that Democrats seem to believe, and our intransigence is keeping him from healing the economy with another stimulus.

I simply cannot imagine what inspiring story he thinks would have made us more amenable to the dreadful economy we find ourselves in., can you?

Too Much Change, No Hope: He’s Gotta GO! by The Elephant's Child

created by Ryan Bomberger

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